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Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment Leads to Falls in Vulnerable Elderly People

Older people treated aggressively for hypertension may be at higher risk for injuries from falling. Investigators tracked roughly 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries for three years. These senior citizens had high blood pressure. Most of them were taking medications to control hypertension.

Those receiving multiple medications, as so many older people do, were at significantly higher risk for falls leading to hip fractures and head injuries. People who had fallen in the previous year were more than twice as likely to experience another serious injury if they were taking antihypertensive medications.

Older patients who experience dizziness, drowsiness or unsteadiness as side effects of their medicine should discuss the benefits and risks of aggressive blood pressure control with their physicians.

[JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Feb. 24, 2014]

We describe the various types of blood pressure medicines and their pros and cons in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. The 8-page guide also has advice on nondrug approaches that may help control blood pressure adequately with fewer medications.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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